Sunday, May 27, 2012

Acqua e Arte in Venezia

The Grand Canal

        The first time I visited Venice I was using film with a couple of Holga's & my OM1. I arrived by public boat from the airport as most do, the Alilaguna pilot deftly cruising past the empty Zitelle stop, as no one was there to get on, and no one got off...I had come that March to celebrate a milestone birthday (a young maiden alone) meeting up with a couple of friends for the occasion. Discovering Calitri was more than a year away, a still unconscious dream ...

 Santa Maria della Presentazione (le Zitelle)

12 years & a Lumix/Leica later (not to mention a house in Irpinia) I am being whisked across the laguna on a private boat heading back to the Zitelle to view The Palladio Hotel & Spa the newest of Francesca Bortolotto Possati's creations on the once neglected island of Giudecca.  

Opened in March, The BAUERs Venezia has transformed la Chiesa della Zitelle, a former 16th Century convent for unmarried girls - with its lush Renaissance gardens, abandoned for a century - into a luxury oasis. Zitelle is Italian for silent ... young maidens, without dowries, too. Fountains tinkling along a light filled corridor, where the young women with no dowries once washed their linens, is the only sound you hear ... and that wonderful scent?
Aria di B ...

Apart from creating soothing environments, Francesca Bortolotto Possati has a sensibility for ARTE.  In March of 2012 alone she has supported and hosted a number of creative and literary events; from the Scuola Grande di San Roco to the Casa dei Tre Oci, from photographer with an Italian past, Elliott Erwitt, to Gustave Klimt and his muse ... so that the once silent and forgotten Zitelle stop on the Giudecca is now being hailed as the SOHO of Venezia